Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Siskiyou Cedar Soap

Juniper Ridge soaps

There is hardly anything I like better than receiving surprise packages in the mail. Be it an Amazon order I totally forgotten about, or better yet - care package from my family in Israel, or generous fragrant gifts from fellow perfumers.

The presents I got in the mail this winter from Hall Newbegin of Juniper Ridge were one of the highlights of the season. When I picked this package from the post office, it emitted the most profoundly outdoorsy scent of conifer imaginable. It was also extremely large for what I was expecting (to be fair, I knew there was a package coming from him because we connected on twitter of the creation of his new solid perfume line and he promised to send me a sample a while back). But inside it were also 2 bars of soap, as well as 2 room sprays, which accounts for the large box that I had to carry along Robson street, with my nose glued to the cracks in the carton box to get a whiff of Northern California's conifer forests as I go along...

I was first acquainted with Juniper Ridge's line in my visit to Strange Invisible Perfumes' boutique in Venice, California, back in 2009. I couldn't quite decide if it was innovative or cunning to put a bunch of coniferous needles in a drawstring bag and call it "sachet". But being from a place in the world even more abundant with needles than you can hope for - I didn't buy any as souvenir. All the same, the name stuck in my head and I would occasionally see them pop up at Whole Foods. It is completely thanks to the internet though, and in this case - twitter - that I got to know more about what they really do. When I got a notice of a twitter account with the name "wildflowerhiker" following me - I had to look into it and found out that the account owner finds nothing better to spend his time than hike around Northern California and collect wild plants for infusions, distilling and making sachets, soaps and more, and quickly discovered he was also working on perfumes inspired by Northern California's wilderness - using its own plants, naturally. And so we connected.

But back to the Siskiyou Cedar soap - which is what this post is all about: I have to preface with the notion that I'm very picky about soaps. Especially soap bars, which often can be drying. Even those that are made of wonderful oils such as olive, coconut and such can be painfully drying to the skin if they are not done properly. And when it comes to soap - I usually stick to one bar and just stock pile it for eternity (soap bars also make excellent closet "sachets" of sorts so they never are really just being "stored" per-se). My expectations for a soap bar are high: it has to leave my skin so happy that I won't even need a body lotion or a body oil after. I like being low-maintenance, and use oils and such only for an extra special occasion...

Well, the Siskiyou Cedar was a pleasant surprise because it did just that. It has amazing lather, and leaves my skin as happy as it ever wished to be, sans any urging desire to restore moisture after. And the best part of it all, of course, is its smell. I've never been to Siskiyou county, but I can tell you that this is a very authentic Northwester coniferous scent. It actually reminds me of redwoods, which dominate Northern California's coastal forests and bathing with this bright green bar in my hand I feel like I'm holding a portkey to an outdoors hot tub situated under redwood trees. I can see the stars gazing at me through the branches, sending glitters of light through a very cold night that hugs the steamy bath with darkness and serene mystery.

Ingredients: fresh extraction of wild Port Orford Cedar trimmings: saponified olive, coconut and palm oils, shea butter. 100% scented and colored with real wild Port Orford Cedar trimmings, no essential oils or colors added. Mild, all vegetable oil base superfatted with shea butter for an extra moisturizing face & body soap. Large 3.5 ounce bar lasts about a month.

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At January 13, 2012 5:36 AM, Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

Ayala, I absolutely love Juniper Ridge soaps. Actually, everything I've tried of theirs has been excellent, including the very simple but evocative handmade incense. Everything Hall makes causes me to really miss the Pacific Northwest, I can't wait to get back there! Very lovely review, by the way. You are one heck of a perfume blogger. :)

At January 13, 2012 10:25 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Thank you for your kind words!
I'm sure the Pacific Northwest misses you just as much! Is that where you are originally from?
the incense is the next on my list to try from them! There is so much incense out there that's full of synthetics. It's refreshing to find something pure and honest.


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